NASCAR penalty drops Truex out of Chase; Newman in
NASCAR handed down penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing on Monday in response to actions taken by MWR during Saturday's Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond. That penalty led to MWR driver, Martin Truex, Jr., falling out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup and Ryan Newman being inserted into the postseason field.
NASCAR docked all three MWR drivers, Truex, Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers, 50 points each, fined the team an unprecedented $300,000 and suspended MWR general manager Ty Norris indefinitely. The 50-point penalty to Truex dropped him to 17th in the Sprint Cup standings and allowed Newman to pass him for the second Wild Card position to qualify for the Chase.
Newman was leading Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400 when Bowyer spun out with seven laps to go to cause a caution. Newman lost the lead during the ensuing pit stops while Truex managed to pass enough cars to earn the points needed to make the Chase.
In-car audio and video from Bowyer made it appear that he spun on purpose to cause the caution. Suspect pitting strategy by Bowyer and Vickers in the final laps also made it obvious that the MWR team was trying to manipulate the finish of the race.
Here is the official ruling from NASCAR:
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 9, 2013) – NASCAR has issued penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing following the sanctioning body’s review of Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway.
MWR was found to have violated Section 12-4 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing). As a result, MWR’s three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (No. 15, 55, 56) have been penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver and 50 championship owner points, respectively.
These point penalties are assessed following the season’s 26th regular season race and not after the seeding for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Therefore, the point total for the No. 56 car driven by Martin Truex Jr. is reduced to 691, putting him in 17th position and eliminating him from the second Wild Card berth for the Chase field. Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 car, now moves up into the Chase as the second Wild Card participant.
NASCAR has also fined the MWR organization $300,000 and indefinitely suspended Ty Norris, MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager and spotter for the No. 55 car, for violating Section 12-4. The three crew chiefs – Brian Pattie (No. 15), Scott Miller (No. 55) and Chad Johnston (No. 56) – have all been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
“Based upon our review of Saturday night’s race at Richmond, it is our determination that the MWR organization attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “As the sport’s sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitors and this action today reflects our commitment to that.”
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